Marine licensing—submarine cables and pipelines
Produced in partnership with Nicola Canty, Barrister of 9 Hazel Tree Chambers
Marine licensing—submarine cables and pipelines

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with Nicola Canty, Barrister of 9 Hazel Tree Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Marine licensing—submarine cables and pipelines
  • Brexit impact
  • International regime under UNCLOS
  • Cables
  • Trans-European Networks (TEN E Regulation)
  • Electronic communications apparatus
  • Pipelines

Brexit impact

This content is likely to be impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For information on how leaving the EU will affect environmental law, see Practice Note: Brexit—environmental law implications, which details the relevant aspects of the withdrawal process, as well as providing insights into developments affecting environmental protection, such as the draft Environmental Principles and Governance Bill.

The date and time of withdrawal of the EU (exit day) is specified in UK law (under section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018), but until the legal terms of the withdrawal negotiated with the EU are finalised, there remains a possibility that the UK’s membership will lapse automatically on exit day, without all the necessary legal and transitional arrangements in place. This has implications for practitioners considering specific environmental law regimes. For information on no deal guidance for these regimes, see Practice Note: Brexit—key publications on implications for environmental law, which provides links to relevant no deal guidance published by the government.

For details on Brexit related regulations relevant to the environment, see: Environment legislation tracker 2019 and Environment legislation tracker 2018.

International regime under UNCLOS

The laying of cables and pipelines is one of the freedoms of the High Seas under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1981 (UNCLOS).UNCLOS, Articles 87 and 112

Furthermore, under UNCLOS all States are entitled to lay submarine cables and pipelines on the continental shelf. Regard must be given to existing submarine cables and pipelines to preserve the ability to access and maintain them.

While the UK as a Coastal State may not impede the laying of submarine